Moving ahead: Are you missing out on investment opportunities?
Typically when we speak of investments our first thoughts go to the financial markets. Organizations speak of human capital investment, investing in talent. As team leaders, we have myriad opportunities to invest in people. Regrettably, many opportunities are missed because we are too focused on the business bottom line. We forget that building talent can make for greater profits through better ideas and greater efficiencies.
Not enough time
One reason often given for not developing talent is the lack of time. This is shortsighted. The people you develop today can become your best talent tomorrow helping your team to realize its goals. Failing to develop employees leaves them more open to looking to other organizations for new opportunities where they would be more valued.
Not my job
There is another misconception that developing the talent pipeline is tangential to one’s role. This is so critical to your leadership role and time must be carved out for developing others. There is also the related belief that employees must come ready with all the skills they need for the job. This results in another great loss to organizations, as talent that may meet 90% of job requirements are overlooked and the search for the perfect employee goes on, resulting in higher recruitment and compensation costs.
Fear of competition
An unspoken reason why some managers fail to develop employees is the ever present fear of competition. This comes from a sense of insecurity about one’s role and value to the organization. Being a professional entails a commitment to the profession to help others in your field become better at what they do. These are opportunities to grow and further differentiate yourself as a leader.
There are simple ways to develop talent around you:
1. Point others to important resources. This would help them to perform better and become better professionals. Share articles, books and what you know.
2. Build a culture of generosity. Encourage your peers and reports to share their knowledge. This sets the wheels in motion for successful collaborations across functions.
3. Offer feedback. When someone does something commendable, take the time to recognize her. Similarly, if you observe some area that needs work, offer guidance that would make a significant difference to her career.
4. Build the relational aspects with your team. Each day, you have the opportunity to observe and work closely with emerging leaders. Invest a little time in knowing more about the career goals and ambitions of those you lead. This allows you to refer resources that may benefit them on an ongoing basis.
5. Become a talent scout. When you see promise, celebrate your find by offering developmental opportunities on and off the job. This may mean sharing the spotlight, giving others an opportunity to shine by delegating an important task.
Leadership involves taking others along on your journey, not just as bystanders but as active participants to share the spotlight and success. Organizations need leaders to develop the talent pipeline to secure their future success. By investing in others, you do this. You also build enormous goodwill with your colleagues and reports. Over time, you will discover that you have so many people rooting for your success.
So become the leader you wish for. Be an example to your peers and reports. Be unafraid and generous. By building your profession, your team, your organization, you are also building your own success, becoming an even more valued player on any team. With today’s talent wars and high unemployment, we all have a responsibility to invest in the success of others. It is also a small way to give back to society.
Deb Dookeran is a Strategic Human Resources Advisor. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in compensation and human resource management. You can find her on Twitter @DebDookeran and on LinkedIn.